In the Beginning

… was a flyer in a local coffee shop advertising a “home repair for women” course. “Why not?” I thought, knowing that I have paid tradesmen–and tradeswomen–good money for fixes both basic (clogged sink) and behemoth (Stephen-King moment when the walls rumbled, the toilets overflowed, and the tub filled up with Scary Brown Awfulness, all at the same time). It was time to figure out if not how to do it, at least to understand how it’s done.

“The best time to take your toilet apart is when it’s working,” said the cheerful teachers, after we’d separated the base from the tank and practiced lugging it across the floor and settling it exactly over the target pipe in the floor. (Now I cannot unsee toilets that are crooked.) After the class I understood–sort of–how it worked, but no way was I going to take it apart on an otherwise peaceful Saturday night.

The experts mentioned a school in Vermont that taught home-building and carpentry. I snooped around its website, picked a course, and, after exploring it daily for a few weeks–I’m a woman of action, you know–I idly clicked, “register.” Fortunately, a “sorry, this class is full” bubble popped up and I was relieved of that risk. I also realized I was disappointed.

So I emailed the site to ask if there was a similar course closer to home. “We always put one spot aside so two people don’t try to register for it at the same time,” came the reply. “It’s yours if you want it.” My bluff was called. If it was a marketing ploy, it worked. I said I wanted it.

I sent in the deposit and reviewed the site’s list of accommodations, including on-campus dorms (bunkbeds, yay!), cabins (no plumbing or electric, woot!), bring-your-own-tent (er, no) and three scary words: “shared composting toilet.”

I reviewed inns and B&Bs but couldn’t see myself checking into a fluffy-curtain’d bedroom and facing strangers for breakfast. Then I saw a listing for a studio on a creek, a “tiny house” that was included in the school’s course on that subject. I emailed the owner–”I don’t know you,” my husband observed as I clicked away, in a staggering display of proactivity–and back came the response, “It’s available.”

I sent in that deposit. That was three months ago, and now it is time to go through with it. The next posts are about the experience–in the hope that it helps any of you who, like me, are too often afraid of leaving the Comfort Zone.

poindexter start

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